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Guns of August: Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray, Jimi Hendrix

Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemmons

Bruce Springsteen, Clarence Clemmons circa 1975, Born to Run

Hard to believe that Bruce Springsteen’s album Born To Run was released in 1975. Wow, how time flies. When that album came out, it was the artist’s masterpiece.

I remember more than a few nights playing that record over and over and over. It’s just one of the seminal rock moments in August.

The album has held up as a singular masterpiece and ranks amongst the artist’s best works ever. Springsteen has been quoted as saying that he was trying to song like Roy Orbison on the album, originally released on Aug. 25th 1975.

He wanted the songs to sound like Phil Spector’s famous “Wall of Sound” productions,  and that explanation still holds true today.

Classics like “Born To Run,” “Thunder Road,” and “Jungleland” were instant hits. “Meeting Across The River” is my favorite. Ir strikes me as a sad yet poetic narrative, a short story inside an even shorter vignette.

Bruce’s writing has always struck me as very singular, poetic, jarring and instantly memorable.

The other must-hear moment on that album is always Clarence Clemmon’s sax solo in the waning moments of “Jungleland.” It is a true, fitting coda to an amazing song.

I still listen to this disc … maybe not as much as I one did, but, every time I hear it I marvel at its elements; sounding startlingly fresh. Tremendous work!

Footnote: Bruce Springsteen is releasing The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story, a new three CD, three DVD box set retrospective of his career. It sells for $119.98, but you can pre-order it now from Amazon.com through TheImproper for $95.99. You Save: $23.99 or 20 percent. The set ships Nov. 16.

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jim Hendrix, Gone But Not Forgotten

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Since we’re talking rock idols, how about losing guitarist extraordinaire Stevie Ray Vaughan 20 years back and the Jimi Hendrix almost 40 years ago. The anniversaries of both their deaths is this month.

Micky Dolenz of the Monkees saw Hendrix at the Monterrey Pop Festival and watched him set fire to his guitar.

Micky suggested Hendrix, then still relatively unknown in the U.S. as an opening act for his group, The Monkees, on their 1967 tour. A

“He was terrific, inspiring, but our audience didn’t know what to make of him. He’d be playing ‘Purple Haze’ and they’d be screaming for Davey,” Micky recalls.

Yoko Remembers John on His 70th Birthday

John and Yoko

Rock legend Yoko Ono is planning a series of events in Iceland to mark what would have been ex-Beatle and husband John Lennon’s 70th birthday.

The artist will light the Imagine Peace Tower illuminated memorial, located on the island of Vioey near Icelandic capital Reykjavik on Oct. 9.

A special performance by the Plastic Ono Band will follow. Lennon’s widow is also expected to present awards from the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace, created to honor the former Beatle’s peace activism.

Lennon was fatally shot outside the couple’s Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980.

Van Halen Back Together Again

Original vocalist David Lee Roth has reunited with Van Halen and they are recording in L.A. right now.

Truth be told, I was never that much of a fan, but I have to admit, those classic songs do stand the test of time and Eddie Van Halen is an amazing guitarist.

Funny, when you think of all the concoctions of the group we’ve had, and, now the original is back.

Ringo Returns With His All Star Band

Ringo Starr

As I finished this column, I just received from our friend Harry Weinger at Universal Ringo Star & His All Star Band, Live at the Greek Theater 2008.

With the likes of Billy Squier, Colin Hay, Edgar Winter, Hamish Stuart and Gary Wright onboard, it’s as much a trip down memory lane as anything.

Wright’s “Dreamweaver” is just sensational and indeed makes your remember those halcyon days.

The song first appeared in 1976, and reached #2 on the Billboard Charts and #1 in Cash Box. It also featured the soon-to-be-star, drummer Jim Keltner.

Also standout on the disc, are “Pick Up The Pieces,” “Photograph,” and “Who Can It Be Now.”

Ringo’s terrific as always and this time has surrounded himself with another stellar collection of artists. If you’re a fan; this Ringo is for you!

Jimmy Fallon Takes Emmys to a New Level

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon was absolutely brilliant at last night’s Emmy Awards. From the terrific opening, done “Glee” style with several cast members from the show.

They were joined by Jorge Garcia from “Lost,” Jon Hamm from “Mad Men” and Kate Gosselin. The opening was just out and out terrific.

If you weren’t a Fallon fan, you’ve got to be now. Congrats Jimmy! I bet the numbers will be the best ever. It was the best Emmy show ever! They should immediately invite him back for next year.

Also, I remain completely fascinated by how masterful Hamm is, be it “Mad Men,” or “30 Rock,” or last night’s Emmy opening.

He is simply terrific. If you ask me, he’s one of TV’s most compelling personalities in years.

Names in the News

Anthony Pomes, John Domenico, Eppy; George Hess, Eva Mueller, Deborah Gibson (Happy Birthday!), Eppy, Steve Rosenfield, Mark Bego, Lon & Derrek Van Eaton, Bruce Grakal, Chelsea.

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